Frequently asked questions

This is a peninsula, right? Why is it called “Presque Isle?”
Presque Isle is French for “almost an island.”

When does Presque Isle open?
Presque Isle State Park is a day use park that is open all year. The park opens at sunrise and closes at sunset, with evening driving hours running until 11 p.m. in the summer and 9 p.m. in the winter.

What does “beach open” mean?
An open beach is a beach where a lifeguard is on duty and the beach is open to swimming. Swimming beaches open at noon unless otherwise posted. You are not allowed to swim on unguarded beaches. To find out when beaches are closed, visit PresqueIsle.org or GoErie.com.

What to the colored flags on the beach lifeguard stands mean? 
The flags indicate water conditions.

  • Green flag means normal swimming conditions.
  • Yellow flag means some restrictions due to hazardous conditions.
  • Red flag means the area is closed due to extreme hazardous conditions.
  • No flag means that no lifeguard is on duty and no swimming permitted.

Are dogs and other pets permitted on Presque Isle?
Yes. Leashed dogs are permitted to be on the sand and in the water at the following areas:

  • Between breakwalls 11-21 (east end of Barracks Beach to west end of Beach 6)
  • Between breakwalls 45-50 (east end of Presque Isle Lighthouse to west end of Beach 9)
  • Between breakwalls 54-58 (east end of Beach 9 to west end of Beach 10)
  • Thompson Bay to north side of Beach 11 (access from Thompson Circle parking area)
  • North Pier Trail; south side of Beach 11 to North Pier (access from North Pier parking lot)

People may not swim in these areas. Wading up the knee, no more than 10 feet from shore, is permitted.

Dogs must be kept at the tree line on any beach area that is not designated.

Do not allow dogs to chase wildlife or birds.

Is food sold on the peninsula?
Yes. There are concession stands at Beaches 6, 8, 10 and 11. There are no restaurants on the park but many close by.

Is there camping on Presque Isle?
No. Camping is not permitted on the park, but there are several campgrounds close by.

Can you rent bikes on the park?
Yes. Bicycles and surreys — four-wheeled, pedal-driven carts — are available for rental at the Waterworks Pumphouse area. The Yellow Bike Rental Co. is open from 9 a.m. to sunset daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting. Call 814-835-8900 for more information.

Can you rent a boat on the park?
Yes. Canoe, rowboat, kayaks, motorboats and pontoon boats are available at the Presque Isle Canoe & Boat Livery.

Can you rent a jet ski on the park?
No. Jet skis are not available for rental on Presque Isle.

Are there deer ticks on Presque Isle?
Yes. On Presque Isle, small “Tick Area” signs warn hikers of the most infected parts of the park. These are generally the interior areas, near the thick vegetation and swamps. Your best defense against ticks and Lyme disease is prevention, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its recommendations:

  • Use insect repellent with 20 percent to 30 percent deet on exposed skin and clothing to prevent tick bites. Permethrin is another type of repellent that kills ticks on contact and one application to pants, socks and shoes typically stays effective through several washings. However, Permethrin should not be applied directly to skin.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks off your skin. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks. Tucking pant legs into socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of clothing. If you’ll be outside for an extended period, tape the area where your pants and socks meet to prevent ticks from crawling under your clothes.

Is fishing permitted on Presque Isle?
Yes, fishing is permitted anywhere except the marina docks during boating season and the guarded beaches during swimming season. For tips and tricks for fishing in the Erie area, visit the NWPA Outdoors Web site.

Is fishing equipment available for rental?
Yes. Free loan equipment is available at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is made possible through a partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Presque Isle State Park. To borrow equipment, visit the main desk at the TREC and sign out the needed equipment. A driver’s license is required. Borrowers are responsible for bait. A fishing license is required for those 16 years and older. All equipment is due back before 6 p.m.

Where is the best place to fly kites?
Sunset Point is often the windiest part of the park and ideal for kite flying.

Is hunting permitted on Presque Isle?
Yes. Hunters must register with the park rangers. Waterfowl hunting is permitted from designated blinds during the hunting season. Deer hunting is permitted during the regulated hunt.

Can I launch my boat on Presque Isle?
Yes, there are several boat launch areas on the park. Check out our interactive park map to see their locations.

Is scuba diving permitted in park waters?
Yes. Divers must register at the public safety building, located on the Park.  For general information, can call the park office at 814-833-7424.

Are there public programs offered on Presque Isle?
Yes. Daily programs are offered during the summer season and many programs offered all year. Check at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center to see what’s happening during your visit.

Where is the lighthouse? 
There are two lights on Presque Isle. The Presque Isle Lighthouse is located near Lighthouse Beach and is open for tours. The North Pier Light is located at the end of the North Pier near the channel of Presque Isle Bay. Click here to see them on our interactive park map.

Canada’s on the other side there, huh? Just how big is Lake Erie?
Lake Erie is 57 miles wide (north-south), 241 miles long (east-west) and an average of 62 feet deep, the deepest point is 210 feet. The deepest point is located 9 miles off Long Point, Ontario.

When did Presque Isle become a State Park?
1921

Is the beach wheelchair accessible?
Free loaner beach wheelchairs are available at the public safety building.